The second Republican debate’s biggest highlights: 7 GOP candidates face off in California

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Seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2024 are squaring off Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, for the second debate of the primary cycle.

The candidates participating in Wednesday’s debate include:

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  • North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum
  • Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence
  • Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina 
  • Vivek Ramaswamy

The debate kicked off with questions about the strike by the United Auto Workers, the fast-approaching government shutdown and immigration. Most candidates trained their fire on President Biden and politicians in Washington, avoiding direct shots at each other.

Former President Donald Trump, who remains the clear Republican front-runner, skipped the debate to instead speak in Detroit.

The first GOP debate in August featured several fiery exchanges among the candidates but did little to change the underlying dynamic of the race, with no candidate breaking through to challenge Trump’s dominance in the GOP primary polls.

A CBS News poll released Tuesday found Trump leads the Republican primary field comfortably in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two contests. His current margins would translate to winning half of Iowa’s delegates and the lion’s share in New Hampshire.

The debate is airing on Fox Business, Univision and Fox News from 9 to 11 p.m. ET, and can be streamed on Rumble. Stuart Varney of Fox Business, Dana Perino of Fox News and Univision’s Ilia Calderón are moderating.

We’ll be adding highlights and notable moments from the debate below throughout the night.

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